Letters 

Questioning the credentials of "The Black Candidate;" applauding the intentions behind "A Patch of Green."

But How do You Really Feel?
Sure, it would be great to have an African American on the state assembly ("The Black Candidate," February 27), and yes, it's egregious that there are so few blacks in state government. But these are not reasons enough to support Charles Ramsey, a man with little experience and the backing of big corporations, the Chamber of Commerce, and landlord groups. Ramsey has devoted much of his career to defending landlords and evicting tenants, some of whom are low-income and elderly. The conservative Contra Costa Times even ran an article describing Ramsey's eviction of two men in their seventies for being late on rent. The newspaper quotes a staff attorney for the East Bay Community Law Center as saying Ramsey is "vicious" in court towards low-income people, and a loose cannon who profits from landlords without any regard for suffering tenants. Given his apparent disdain for those without deep pockets, along with his conviction in 1995 for soliciting a prostitute while his wife was pregnant, is this the type of person we want representing us?
Stacy Taylor, El Cerrito

People's Park, The First Community Garden
Kudos to Linnea Due for writing about the Richmond Community Garden ("A Patch of Green," February 20) and other efforts to create spiritually and physically sustaining vegetable and herb gardens and additional green space in Richmond. I suggest that East Bay Express readers, as well as urban ecologists Allen Green and Dr. Chuma Obiudu come down to People's Park in Berkeley to participate in and see its ongoing evolution as well.

When Dr. Obiudu says, "I want to bring everyone to the garden and so I offer music, art, and games to draw in teenagers, seniors, working people who need a space of quiet," he mirrors the intentions of original Park founders. The campus main street, Telegraph Avenue, now has a spot of quiet to offset the frenetic foot and automotive traffic. Perhaps because Dr. Obiudu has come here from Nigeria, Greece, Ithaca, and Oklahoma, he does not realize that when he states, "No one has integrated all this before," in fact exactly such integration started in Berkeley -- and has continued for more than thirty years.

He can read about the creation of People's Park by perusing excerpts taken from the account I wrote at the time in the People's Park Web site, http://www.peoplespark.org/history.html. He can also read more about the Park in The Whole World Is Watching, the book that catalogues the photography show of the same name, co-curated by Ken Light and Harold Adler.

Starting May 1st, and continuing for four months, there will be an exhibition of People's Park photos with wall text at the Free Speech Cafe in Moffitt Undergraduate Library at the University of California at Berkeley campus, curated by Harold Adler. Similarly, the whole community is invited to come to People's Park Sunday April 28th for a day of celebration.
Wendy Schlesinger, via the Internet

What has happened to fairness?
I am writing in regard to the controversy surrounding the Berkeley Folk Festival ("7 Days," February 6.) As a folk musician, long-term resident of the East Bay, and member of the disabled community, I have a great deal of interest in this issue. I attended the Berkeley Folk Festival once during its years at the Unitarian Fellowship; I did not attend this year's festival because the ADA compliance issues raised by Karen Craig, Carol Denney, and others have not been resolved.

Your coverage devoted more space to Jessica Bryan's remarks than to Carol Denney's response -- what has happened to journalistic standards of fairness? Furthermore, the writer chose to quote both Bryan's name-calling (e.g., "histrionic") and Dona Spring's characterization of Denney as "Lady Macbeth." Please bear in mind that quoting inflammatory remarks hurts feelings, contributes to the difficulty of resolving disputes about the festival, and detracts from the real issue of accessibility and ADA compliance.
Sharyn Dimmick, Kensington

And in the next election
I was scandalized by the character defamation heaped upon a private citizen by my own council representative, Dona Spring, in your column, "7 Days" (February 6). Ms. Spring had the audacity to characterize Carol Denney as Lady Macbeth, and murderer of the Berkeley Free Folk Festival! In truth, she has been badmouthing Ms. Denney ever since Ms. Denney criticized her for her role in framing the initiatives N and O, known as the Poor Laws. Much to Spring's embarrassment, Denney published a list of a hundred songs, such as "Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime?" and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" that would have been illegal to sing in public because of N and O's restrictions against anyone on the street asking for money or even goods and services.

Denney was not the only one to point out Spring's betrayal of Green Party and progressive principles. David Nadel called her "the rolling hypocrisy," an epithet that one cannot help but remember in connection with Spring's refusal to insist that the Free Folk Festival be held in a fully accessible facility since it receives public monies. I guess she doesn't care that no one in a wheelchair can perform on stage at the festival's present venue, Ashkenaz. Perhaps she won't mind then if the next electoral debates for her district seat are held there.
Carolyn Erbele, Berkeley

You say assemblage, I say installation
Thank you for the sensitive and well-written, insightful article in your Billboard section by Natasha Nargis ("Artist in Dutch," February 20). There are two items that need some clarification. "Insomnia," the work referred to in the article as an assemblage, is actually an installation, an environment on wall and floor, incorporating fifty assemblage sculptures. Also, the ProArts East Bay Open Studio tour will be the first two weekends in June: June 1, 2, 8, and 9.
Chandra Garsson, Oakland

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